Battle of the Bands shows off student talent


Lukas Draugelis/TheVermontCynic

Rapper Prince Lood performs during the Battle of the Bands competition, March 4. Lood opened the third night of the three-night competition.

Cyrus Oswald, Staff Writer

Brennan’s Pub & Bistro on most nights is a laid-back atmosphere for students to get food and hang out with their friends. 

UVM Program Board’s Battle of the Bands preliminary rounds took place March 2-4 in Brennan’s. Thirteen bands competed for four spots at the finals.

On March 11, President Suresh Garimella made the announcement that classes would be moved online in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result, many on-campus events including Battle of the Bands have been cancelled, according to the UVM Bored website.

While the finalists of Battle of the Bands will not have the opportunity to compete for the winning title, let’s take a look at all the acts who performed at the event.

Rockin Reverend Blow was the first act of night one. He took the stage armed with a laptop and a series of lights and lasers. 

He describes his sound as akin to a “robot sex compilation.” He also said he wrote all the songs specifically for the evening. His music was electronic with a lot of bass and bass drops.

Sophomore Ivy Curby watched Rockin Reverend Blow perform. 

“He was very energetic,” Curby said. “I really liked all the colors and stuff.”

Guest Policy was the second performer and took the stage with biodegradable glitter. The band consisted of two guitars, one string bass and a drummer onstage. 

The group described their sound as soulful indie rock with a splash of jazz. Their bassist had a bunch of flowers in their bass’ f-hole while they performed.

“I love Guest Policy,” said senior Alison Schwartz. “They’re really fun, and I’ve seen them perform at Radio Bean before, so they really get out there.” 

Kid Smoko was the third performer of the night. Their band was the largest of the whole event. They featured two guitars, one bass, a drummer and two singers who frequently jumped off the stage of  Brennan’s.

“They were kinda like punk surf rock,” junior Spencer DeVito said. 

One of their band members is UVM senior Declan Martins. They met as high schoolers in New Jersey and formed after graduating. Kid Smoko identified their sound as post genre. 

Bobby Coe was the final performer of the first day. She came on stage with a guitar and pre-recorded drum sounds. It’s fair to say she was far more mellow than Kid Smoko. 

Between songs, she said her performance was “not exactly headbanging music.” 

Sophomore Sophia Carlot goes by her stage name Bobby Coe. One of the songs she performed was written the day before. 

The second day of Battle of the Bands brought another four groups. The first was JS Audial, who is relatively new to the UVM band scene. 

“She has a really pretty voice, and I was talking to her because I’ve known her for a couple years and they’re just getting started,” said senior Emma Pearson, a member of a band that performed.

The next act, Ivana, took the stage by herself but still managed to grab the audience’s attention. 

“I thought it was interesting she didn’t have any backup band which is definitely really difficult to engage an audience,” sophomore Olivia Zito said. “I feel like it’s kinda intimidating to go on stage by yourself.” 

JAKE was the third band to take the stage, consisting of graduate student Jake Small with a ukulele and his friend with an electric guitar. 

Before playing, JAKE made sure that everyone knew the name of his ukelele, Keith. He played a few songs just with Keith before starting accompaniment with electric guitar

March Against Empathy was the final group to take the stage on the second day. They had two guitarists, a bassist and a drummer. They qualified for finals.

Before their song “A Snow Owl’s Demise,” they told the backstory for the song, which involved a flying snow owl, their drummer in a minivan and a dead snow owl. 

The first performer of the third night was Prince Lood, a rapper accompanied by his producer. Members of the audience had high praise

“He was killer,” first-year Christian Rhoads said. “I don’t hear much of the hip hop scene up here.

“It’s usually just the indie and rock stuff, so I’m happy that there is a scene for it, because I know kids are into it, and I think people would like his music. I think more people should hear it.”

No Showers on Vacation qualified for the finals. They consisted of a guitarist, a bass guitar, a keyboard and a drummer. They got their name from personal experience with showerless vacations. 

They were fairly non-vocal, close to a jam band. A band member one of their songs as, “Weird, then very funky, jazzy and then back to weird.”

“That was kinda weird and experimental, but that’s good,” first-year Jason Murray said. “We need that, definitely in our modern music scene as well. Plain and boring, that’s boring. You want that weird and unique scene.” 

The third band to perform was Old North End. Before playing, a band member instructed the audience to, “sit back and enjoy the trip.” 

They had a drummer, acoustic guitar, electric guitar and bass. They also had some recorded instrumentals backing them. 

LEULUX, pronounced lee-uu, was the fourth band of the evening. They had a bass guitarist, a pianist, a drummer and a guitarist. 

Murray had had high praises for the lead singer.

“That was an experience, man.” Murray said.  “Angelic. The vocals man. The pipes on that guy.”

Murray said he was floored with all the skilled musicians he saw that night. “I’m really impressed with the talent in our community,” he said.

The final group to perform was Pons, an energetic rock band. They had a guitarist and two drummers. One drummer stood, while the other sat behind a full drum kit. 

After their first very lively song, they announced, “We are Pons.” Before starting their next song, they dedicated it to “all you cheaters out there.”

They were all wearing grey suit coats, but clearly weren’t cut for the corporate world. They said one of their songs had people literally hypnotized. 

While these talented students will not have the opportunity to compete for the prestigious title of headlining SpringFest, the first rounds of Battle of the Bands showed us what UVM students have to offer. 

The winners of the preliminary rounds and who would continue to the finals were Kid Smoko, Bobby Coe, March Against Empathy and No Showers on Vacation.